Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov on EU proposals to tackle migration issue

Submitted on Tue, 05/12/2015 - 22:00

Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov replies to Politico questions on migration issue, 12 May 2015

Question: Does the EU plan of destroying the vessels of smugglers go « too far » for Russia? How does Russia expect the EU do deal with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean? Would Russia support a UN resolution that puts less focus on destroying boats, but more on seizing the assets of traffickers and interrupting their networks?

Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov: EU proposals of destroying vessels would definitely go too far for Russia (and for many other countries too). There would be obvious legal questions. How can it be done without a court decision and without the consent of the host country’s government? There would be also doubts concerning the feasibility of destroying vessels, even before they are used for smuggling, without violating rights of ordinary Libyans earning their livelihood in the fishery sector. 

Having said that, I can confirm that Russia is ready to work with the EU and its Member States with the aim of solving the migration crisis in the Mediterranean, including on a possible UNSC resolution. In our opinion, seizing and arresting vessels and assets of smugglers would be an adequate measure to undermine their illegal “business model” in Libya. Actually, the recent UNSC Resolution on ways of combating piracy could serve as a basis.

Question: How concerned is Russia by the problem of terrorists in Libya? Which support is it willing to give to tackle this issue?

The problem of terrorism in Libya as well as in other countries of the region has been our concern for many years. Unfortunately, we were not listened to by some active international players. We support UN-led efforts aimed at establishing a government of national unity in Libya. This is a key condition for effective fight against the threat of terrorism in the country as well as for tackling root causes of massive irregular migration in Central Mediterranean.